Monday, July 28, 2014

9th Shoreline Jewish Festival on the Guilford Green

The 9th annual Shoreline Jewish Festival will be held from noon to 5 p.m.  Aug.  10 on the Guilford Green, according to a release.
"The festival features various styles of Jewish music, traditional and Israeli fair food (all kosher), an art and book sale, and children’s crafts and activities," the release said.
“The festival celebrates Jewish life and living,” said Rabbi Yossi Yaffe, director of Chabad of the Shoreline and coordinator of the event, also in the release. 
“The music, the food, the entertainment--people of all ages and backgrounds enjoy it and have come to regard it as a Shoreline summer tradition.”
This year’s music will include the Jay Gitlin Quartet, The Jazz Rabbi & his Minyan, and The Klezmen, the release said.
"The Jay Gitlin Quartet gets the audience on their feet dancing with their lively horas and freilachs. Jay Gitlin of North Branford is a musical director, keyboard player and percussionist who has over five decades of experience in playing dance music. As co-founder of the Bales-Gitlin Band, Jay has played at thousands of celebrations—and over 2,000 weddings! The quartet will recreate the energy and joy of a Jewish wedding on the Guilford Green," the release said.
"Next up will be The Jazz Rabbi and his Minyan, featuring Rabbi Greg Wall, David Morgan and Matt Modell. Rabbi Wall is a jazz and klezmer virtuoso who helped define a new genre of Jewish Jazz, influencing a whole generation of young artists. Today he also serves as the rabbi of Beit Chaverim Synagogue in Westport, CT, where he continues to combine prayer and jazz, Psalms and saxophone to uplift and inspire.
The Klezmen are a four-piece band from West Hartford specializing in klezmer music and popular Jewish favorites. Joel Schlank and his talented musicians play a rich and lively mix of music that laughs and cries, dances, soars and dives to reach the hearts and souls of their audience."
Also, the release said: "Children and adults can explore the ancient Temple in Jerusalem through a hands-on, interactive presentation. Biblical stories will come to life as participants create models of the Temple, the priestly garb, and some of the sweet-smelling spices used in ancient worship."
Artists and artisans will sell a variety of Judaica, jewelry, clothing and art work. Books, videos and games of Jewish interest for both children and adults will be available for purchase, the release said.
"Festival-goers can choose from a variety of (kosher) fair favorites, including hamburgers, hot dogs, falafel (an Israeli fried chickpea specialty), schwarma grilled chicken, potato knishes, homemade doughnuts, cotton candy, sno cones, and more."
More: "Children will enjoy an inflatable slide, obstacle course and bouncers sponsored by Sound Spectrum Entertainment of Wallingford. They can also try their hand at a variety of Jewish-themed arts & crafts projects. The program also includes shofar-making presentations, with opportunities to make your own ram’s horn in honor of the upcoming Jewish New Year."
Admission is free. Food, crafts, and vendor items are for sale. Mr. Boris Mizhen is the primary festival sponsor.
Additional sponsorship is provided by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, Sound Spectrum Entertainment of Wallingford, Cherry Hill Construction, and Goody’s Hardware.
For more information, visit Artists can reserve a booth for the day for a fee of $85.To help sponsor this unique event, or to reserve a booth, please contact Rabbi Yaffe at (203) 453-5580 or at

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Connecticut DEEP Announces Programs in Derby

In a press release, the state Department of Environmental Protection says it has programs coming up: 
               These summertime programs are at the Kellogg Environmental Center and Osborne Homestead Museum  located at 500 Hawthorne Avenue, Derby, the release said.  Register for the programs at (203) 734-2513.
The following is shared from the release, unedited here:
Tea Crafting Workshop
            Have a cup of tea and make sweet treats at the Children’s Tea Crafting workshop on Saturday, July 26th from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon at the Kellogg Environmental Center, Derby.  This workshop is appropriate for children ages 8-13, accompanied by an adult. 
            Visitors will learn about the history of tea, the different types of teas, and how to properly drink tea. Tours of the herb gardens on the premises of the Kellogg Estate will be available.  Participants will use herbs from the garden to make tea and create tea bags and flavored sugars.
Learn Simple Crocheting
            Want to learn an inexpensive, fun and easy hobby?  Then join others for an afternoon of crocheting on Sunday, July 27th from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. at the Osborne Homestead Museum, Derby.  Adults and children, ages 8 and older, are invited to participate.
            Participants will learn basic crocheting techniques and how to make a scarf. The history of crochet and its uses will be discussed along with a display of crocheted items from the museum collection. Come and enjoy this relaxing, stress-free hobby.
            Did you know that dinosaurs once roamed the very ground that you walk on today?  Come by the Kellogg Environmental Center on Tuesday, August 12th at 10:00 a.m. to see what kinds of dinosaurs roamed Connecticut and the United States. 
            Participants will learn about the evidence we have of these animals in our fossil record, and how a fossil is made.  At the end you’ll even get the chance to make your very own fossil!  The program is open to all ages and is free of charge.  We do require that all children are accompanied by an adult.
Victorian Tea Etiquette & Tea Tasting at the Kellogg Estate
            Glimpse into the world of Victorian culture through the simulation of a tea party and taste the delightful and exotic flavors of teas! Visit the Kellogg Environmental Center Saturday, August 23rd from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.  Go back in time to the late Victorian Era (1837-1901) when Frances Osborne Kellogg would have been a young lady hosting and going to tea parties.
             During the workshop visitors will learn the history of tea, the types of tea services and Victorian tea etiquette. They will taste a variety of black teas ranging from the citrusy Earl & Lady Grey teas to the malty, rich Assam tea varieties. Antique tea sets from the Osborne Homestead Museum will be on display. At the end of the program, visitors can take home handcrafted teas and teabags and information on other uses of tea.  A $5.00 donation is requested.
A History of American Quilts
            Learn about the origins of quilt-making as seen in the rich diversity of American culture. Sample quilts will be on display, including those from the museum collection.  Join us on Sunday, August 24th from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
            Visitors will explore the uses of quilts throughout history to celebrate holidays and historical events, to pass on information, to enjoy as artistic and creative endeavors and as businesses for women. We will also discuss quilts as family memorials, fashion pieces and more. This is a free program and appropriate for all ages.
Visit 1914!
            Travel back 100 years on Sunday, September 28th at 1:00 p.m. to learn what was happening in world, national and local news. Tour the museum and understand the daily routine and life of the Osborne family during that time.  
            Local photographs and the antiques collection will be on display. This is a free program and appropriate for all ages. Registration is requested but not required.

Watch this dog interact with a baby, you won't believe what happens!

If you are a dog lover, this will make you smile! (If it does not, please let me know!)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Blumenthal meets with Central American ambassadors over immigrant children issue

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. released a statement after he and his colleagues met with the ambassadors of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to discuss conditions in their countries and resulting immigration to the United States:

 This is the statement, unedited here: (video below is of a rally on immigration in New Haven)

“At today’s meeting with ambassadors of the key Central American countries that are plagued by vicious violence driving children to our borders, we urged that more effective action be taken to stop gang warfare and persecution by drug cartels and organized criminals. The root cause of the flood of child migrants to this country is lack of effective law enforcement, as well as horrific inhumane conditions, in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador that can be addressed in part with assistance from the United States. We urged strong specific steps to stem and stop the rape, murder, forced prostitution and other atrocities, which these children are fleeing in their urgent search for safety here. These countries have an obligation to do better – as we urged them – with help from our country.

 “I will continue to fight for such resources to aid these countries with more effective law enforcement, as well as to provide our country with better border security, more humane facilities and care for recently-arrived migrants, and justice and fairness to make asylum determinations child by child.”

Monday, July 21, 2014

At the Old State House: 'From Farming to Therapy: Animals at Work'

There will be a program at noon July 29 at Connecticut’s Old State House dubbed "From Farming to Therapy: Animals at Work," organizers said in a a release.

"Enjoy a presentation on nineteenth-century agrarian life" by Rhys Simmons, coordinator of Agriculture at Old Sturbridge Village, followed by a panel discussion led by the Connecticut Network’s (CT-N) Diane Smith, the release said.

 Smith "will sit down with Simmons and other animal experts to discuss the various roles animals hold inside the working world and the steps that have been taken and should be taken to ensure their safety."

The horses of Hartford’s Mounted Police will visit at the end of the program, the release said. The free event is sponsored by Connecticut Humanities.

Did you know: "Connecticut's Old State House served as a seat of government for the Constitution State from 1796 to 1878. The Old State House Shop, located on the Main Street side of the building, provides visitors an opportunity to purchase great, quality-made Connecticut and Hartford themed gifts, products and apparel. The Old State House Farmers Market, the oldest of its kind in the state, is open Tuesdays and Fridays throughout the summer."

Friday, July 18, 2014

Watch: President Obama talks about plane shot down in Ukraine

A release from the White House included the transcript of  President Obama's remarks regarding the downing of the Malaysian airliner. The White House also released a video of the president, which is below as well.

The full remarks are below the video and are not edited:


11:52 A.M. EDT



THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody. 


Yesterday, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam and was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border.  Nearly 300 innocent lives were taken -- men, women, children, infants -- who had nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine.  Their deaths are an outrage of unspeakable proportions.


We know at least one American citizen, Quinn Lucas Schansman, was killed.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family for this terrible loss.


Yesterday, I spoke with the leaders of Ukraine, Malaysia, and the Netherlands.  I told them that our thoughts and prayers are with all the families and that the American people stand with them during this difficult time.  Later today, I’ll be speaking to Prime Minister Abbott of Australia, which also suffered a terrible loss.


By far, the country that lost the most people on board the plane was the Netherlands.  From the days of our founding, the Dutch have been close friends and stalwart allies of the United States of America.  And today, I want the Dutch people to know that we stand with you, shoulder to shoulder, in our grief and in our absolute determination to get to the bottom of what happened.


Here’s what we know so far.  Evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside of Ukraine.  We also know that this is not the first time a plane has been shot down in eastern Ukraine.  Over the last several weeks, Russian-backed separatists have shot down a Ukrainian transport plane and a Ukrainian helicopter, and they claimed responsibility for shooting down a Ukrainian fighter jet. Moreover, we know that these separatists have received a steady flow of support from Russia.  This includes arms and training.  It includes heavy weapons, and it includes anti-aircraft weapons. 


Here’s what must happen now.  This was a global tragedy.  An Asian airliner was destroyed in European skies, filled with citizens from many countries.  So there has to be a credible international investigation into what happened.  The U.N. Security Council has endorsed this investigation, and we will hold all its members -- including Russia -- to their word.  In order to facilitate that investigation, Russia, pro-Russian separatists, and Ukraine must adhere to an immediate cease-fire.  Evidence must not be tampered with.  Investigators need to access the crash site.  And the solemn task of returning those who were lost on board the plane to their loved ones needs to go forward immediately.


The United States stands ready to provide any assistance that is necessary.  We’ve already offered the support of the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board, which has experience in working with international partners on these types of investigations.  They are on their way, personnel from the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board. 


In the coming hours and days, I’ll continue to be in close contact with leaders from around the world as we respond to this catastrophe.  Our immediate focus will be on recovering those who were lost, investigating exactly what happened, and putting forward the facts. 


I want to point out there will likely be misinformation as well.  I think it's very important for folks to sift through what is factually based and what is simply speculation.  No one can deny the truth that is revealed in the awful images that we all have seen.  And the eyes of the world are on eastern Ukraine, and we are going to make sure that the truth is out.


More broadly, I think it's important for us to recognize that this outrageous event underscores that it is time for peace and security to be restored in Ukraine.  For months, we’ve supported a pathway to peace, and the Ukrainian government has reached out to all Ukrainians, put forward a peace plan, and lived up to a cease-fire, despite repeated violations by the separatists -- violations that took the lives of Ukrainian soldiers and personnel.


Moreover, time and again, Russia has refused to take the concrete steps necessary to deescalate the situation.  I spoke to President Putin yesterday in the wake of additional sanctions that we had imposed.  He said he wasn’t happy with them, and I told him that we have been very clear from the outset that we want Russia to take the path that would result in peace in Ukraine, but so far at least, Russia has failed to take that path.  Instead, it has continued to violate Ukrainian sovereignty and to support violent separatists.  It has also failed to use its influence to press the separatists to abide by a cease-fire.  That’s why, together with our allies, we’ve imposed growing costs on Russia.


So now is, I think, a somber and appropriate time for all of us to step back and take a hard look at what has happened.  Violence and conflict inevitably lead to unforeseen consequences.  Russia, these separatists, and Ukraine all have the capacity to put an end to the fighting.  Meanwhile, the United States is going to continue to lead efforts within the world community to de-escalate the situation; to stand up for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine; and to support the people of Ukraine as they courageously work to strengthen their democracy and make their own decisions about how they should move forward.


Before I take just a couple of questions let me remark on one other issue.  This morning, I spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel about the situation in Gaza.  We discussed Israel’s military operation in Gaza, including its efforts to stop the threat of terrorist infiltration through tunnels into Israel.  I reaffirmed my strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself.  No nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders, or terrorists tunneling into its territory.  In fact, while I was having the conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu, sirens went off in Tel Aviv.


I also made clear that the United States, and our friends and allies, are deeply concerned about the risks of further escalation and the loss of more innocent life.  And that’s why we’ve indicated, although we support military efforts by the Israelis to make sure that rockets are not being fired into their territory, we also have said that our understanding is the current military ground operations are designed to deal with the tunnels, and we are hopeful that Israel will continue to approach this process in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and that all of us are working hard to return to the cease-fire that was reached in November of 2012. 


Secretary Kerry is working to support Egypt’s initiative to pursue that outcome.  I told Prime Minister Netanyahu that John is prepared to travel to the region following additional consultations.


Let me close by making one additional comment.  On board Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, there were apparently nearly 100 researchers and advocates traveling to an international conference in Australia dedicated to combating AIDS/HIV.  These were men and women who had dedicated their own lives to saving the lives of others and they were taken from us in a senseless act of violence.


In this world today, we shouldn’t forget that in the midst of conflict and killing, there are people like these -- people who are focused on what can be built rather than what can be destroyed; people who are focused on how they can help people that they’ve never met; people who define themselves not by what makes them different from other people but by the humanity that we hold in common.  It’s important for us to lift them up and to affirm their lives.  And it’s time for us to heed their example. 


The United States of America is going to continue to stand for the basic principle that people have the right to live as they choose; that nations have the right to determine their own destiny; and that when terrible events like this occur, the international community stands on the side of justice and on the side of truth. 


So with that, let me take just a couple questions.  I’ll start with you, Julie.


Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Just on a technical matter, does the U.S. believe that this passenger jet was targeted, or that those people who shot it down may have been going after a military -- thought they were going after a military aircraft?  And more broadly, this incident does seem to escalate the crisis in Ukraine to a level we haven’t seen before.  Does that change your calculus in terms of what the U.S. and perhaps Europe should be doing in terms of a response?


     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think it’s too early for us to be able to guess what the intentions of those who might have launched this surface-to-air missile might have had.  The investigation is going to be ongoing, and I think what we’ll see is additional information surfacing over the next 24 hours, 72 hours, the next week, the next month.


     What we know right now, what we have confidence in saying right now is that a surface-to-air missile was fired and that's what brought the jet down.  We know -- or we have confidence in saying that that shot was taken within a territory that is controlled by the Russian separatists. 


     But I think it’s very important for us to make sure that we don't get out ahead of the facts.  And at this point, in terms of identifying specifically what individual or group of individuals or personnel ordered the strike, how it came about, those are things that I think are still going to be subject to additional information that we’re going to be gathering.  And we’re working with the entire international community to make sure that the focus is on getting to the bottom of this thing and being truthful.


     And my concern is obviously that there’s been a lot of misinformation generated in eastern Ukraine generally.  This should snap everybody’s heads to attention and make sure that we don't have time for propaganda, we don't have time for games.  We need to know exactly what happened.  And everybody needs to make sure that we’re holding accountable those who committed this outrage.


     With respect to the second question, as you’re aware, before this terrible incident happened we had already ratcheted up sanctions against Russia.  And I think the concern not just of Russian officials but of the markets about the impact that this could have on the Russian economy is there for all to see.


     I made clear to President Putin that our preferred path is to resolve this diplomatically.  But that means that he and the Russian government have to make a strategic decision:  Are they going to continue to support violent separatists whose intent is to undermine the government of Ukraine?  Or are they prepared to work with the government of Ukraine to arrive at a cease-fire and a peace that takes into account the interests of all Ukrainians?


     There has been some improved language at times over the last month coming from the Kremlin and coming from President Putin, but what we have not seen is an actual transition and different actions that would give us confidence that that's the direction that they want to take.


     And we will continue to make clear that as Russia engages in efforts that are supporting the separatists, that we have the capacity to increase the costs that we impose on them.  And we will do so.  Not because we’re interested in hurting Russia for the sake of hurting Russia, but because we believe in standing up for the basic principle that a country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity has to be respected, and it is not the United States or Russia or Germany or any other country that should be deciding what happens in that country.


     Q    At this point do you see any U.S. military role that could be effective?


     THE PRESIDENT:  We don't see a U.S. military role beyond what we’ve already been doing in working with our NATO partners and some of the Baltic States, giving them reassurances that we are prepared to do whatever is required to meet our alliance obligations.


     Steve Holland.


     Q    Sir, thank you.  How much blame for this do you put on President Putin?  And will you use this incident now to push the Europeans for stronger action?


     THE PRESIDENT:  We don't exactly know what happened yet, and I don't want to, as I said before, get out ahead of the facts.  But what I do know is, is that we have seen a ticking up of violence in eastern Ukraine that, despite the efforts of the Ukrainian government to abide by a cease-fire and to reach out and agree to negotiations, including with the separatists, that has been rebuffed by these separatists.  We know that they are heavily armed and that they are trained.  And we know that that’s not an accident.  That is happening because of Russian support.


     So it is not possible for these separatists to function the way they’re functioning, to have the equipment that they have -- set aside what’s happened with respect to the Malaysian Airlines -- a group of separatists can’t shoot down military transport planes or, they claim, shoot down fighter jets without sophisticated equipment and sophisticated training.  And that is coming from Russia.


     So we don’t yet know exactly what happened with respect to the Malaysian Airlines, although obviously we’re beginning to draw some conclusions given the nature of the shot that was fired.  There are only certain types of anti-aircraft missiles that can reach up 30,000 feet and shoot down a passenger jet.  We have increasing confidence that it came from areas controlled by the separatists.  But without having a definitive judgment on those issues yet, what we do know is, is that the violence that’s taking place there is facilitated in part -- in large part -- because of Russian support.  And they have the ability to move those separatists in a different direction.


     If Mr. Putin makes a decision that we are not going to allow heavy armaments and the flow of fighters into Ukraine across the Ukrainian-Russian border, then it will stop.  And if it stops, then the separatists will still have the capacity to enter into negotiations and try to arrive at the sort of political accommodations that Mr. Putin himself says he wants to see.  He has the most control over that situation, and so far, at least, he has not exercised it.


     Q    Tougher sanctions in Europe -- will you push for them?


     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think that this certainly will be a wake-up call for Europe and the world that there are consequences to an escalating conflict in eastern Ukraine; that it is not going to be localized, it is not going to be contained.  What we’ve seen here is -- just in one country alone, our great allies, the Dutch, 150 or more of their citizens being killed.  And that, I think, sadly brings home the degree to which the stakes are high for Europe, not simply for the Ukrainian people, and that we have to be firm in our resolve in making sure that we are supporting Ukraine in its efforts to bring about a just cease-fire and that we can move towards a political solution to this.


     I’m going to make this the last question.  Lisa Lerer, Bloomberg.


     Q    Do we know yet if there were other Americans on board beyond the person you mentioned?  And how do you prevent stricter restrictions, economic sanctions from shocking the global economy and -- 


     THE PRESIDENT:  We have been pretty methodical over the last 24 hours in working through the flight manifest and identifying which passengers might have had a U.S. passport.  At this point, the individual that I mentioned is the sole person that we can definitively say was a U.S. or dual citizen. 


Because events are moving so quickly, I don’t want to say with absolute certainty that there might not be additional Americans, but at this stage, having worked through the list, been in contact with the Malaysian government, which processed the passports as folks were boarding, this is our best assessment of the number of Americans that were killed.  Obviously that does nothing to lessen our outrage about all those families.  Regardless of nationality, it is a heartbreaking event.


     With respect to the effect of sanctions on the economy, we have consistently tried to tailor these sanctions in ways that would have an impact on Russia, on their economy, on their institutions or individuals that are aiding and abetting in the activities that are taking place in eastern Ukraine, while minimizing the impacts on not only the U.S. economy but the global economy. 


It is a relevant consideration that we have to keep in mind.  The world economy is integrated; Russia is a large economy; there’s a lot of financial flows between Russia and the rest of the world.  But we feel confident that at this point the sanctions that we’ve put in place are imposing a cost on Russia, that their overall impact on the global economy is minimal.  It is something that we have to obviously pay close attention to, but I think Treasury, in consultation with our European partners, have done a good job so far on that issue.


     Thank you very much, everybody.



Thursday, July 17, 2014

President Obama's Call with President Putin of Russia

The Associated Press reports: "A Ukrainian official said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over a town in the east of the country, and Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights over Ukrainian airspace."

Update (6 p.m.):

"President Obama spoke with Ukrainian President Poroshenko this afternoon to discuss the tragic crash of flight Malaysian Airlines 17.  President Poroshenko welcomed the assistance of international investigators to ensure a thorough and transparent investigation of the crash site.  President Obama assured him that U.S. experts will offer all possible assistance immediately.  The Presidents emphasized that all evidence from the crash site must remain in place on the territory of Ukraine until international investigators are able to examine all aspects of the tragedy. "
 This is the readout of the (earlier) call, provided by the White House, unedited and shared here:
President Obama spoke with Russian President Putin today about the situation in Ukraine and the additional sanctions on Russian individuals and entities that the United States announced on July 16.  President Obama emphasized that he remains committed to a diplomatic solution and that sanctions were not his preferred course of action.  President Obama noted, however, that in the face of extensive evidence that Russia is significantly increasing the provision of heavy weapons to separatists in Ukraine and Russia’s failure to take other steps set out by the United States and Europe to de-escalate the crisis, it was necessary to impose additional sanctions, consistent with the clear statements from the United States and our allies following the G-7 meeting in Brussels.  President Obama also reiterated his concerns regarding the buildup of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border.  President Obama called on President Putin to take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation, including to press separatists to agree to a cease-fire, support a roadmap for negotiations, halt the flow of fighters and weapons into Ukraine, obtain the release of all hostages still held by the separatists, and work to establish an effective OSCE border-monitoring mechanism.  He noted that Russia would face continued costs and isolation unless it takes these concrete steps.  The President emphasized that Russia and the United States have a shared interest in supporting a stable and prosperous Ukraine.  President Obama and President Putin agreed on the need for a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis achieved through diplomatic means.  During the call, President Putin noted the early reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Music @ the Farm Series in Woodbridge - with Common Ground too

A "Music @ the Farm Series" by Common Ground School and Massaro Community Farm is growing, according to a release 
"Together these two venues will present four family-friendly evenings of music, picnicking and farm tours," the release said.

Concerts will take place on July 24, Aug. 14, Sept.  4 and Sept. 18 all from 6 to 8:30 p.m., the release said. 
"The first night, at Massaro Community farm, will feature the traditional bluegrass and folk music of Homemade Jam, and wood-fired pizza of the New Haven Pizza Truck."
Further, organizers invited folks to "Bring the entire clan to the farm, along with a picnic and blanket or low chairs and enjoy fun music the entire family can get up and move to!  Each evening will also feature food available for purchase from a local food cart." 
Arrive at 6 p.m. for a farm tour! $5/pp or $10/family.
Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post was contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

We all should love learning about New Haven history

New Haven is rich with history.

From the time the Puritans decided this was the place to be, New Haven has been a part of what unfolded in Connecticut and the world. 

Just consider learning where the names of the city schools came from and you will begin to see this history.

However, I shamefully had not toured the Pardee Morris House until recently.

But once you go there, history unfolds. Did you know, for instance, that the British burned the original house down when they raided New Haven during the Revolutionary War?

But it was rebuilt and it is still there on Lighthouse Road.

There are friendly folks there to give tours - or you can just look around and read the materials there that explain the history of the home and its occupants. The point is, if you can, you should go.

The Pardee-Morris House is located at 325 Lighthouse Road, New Haven.

Check out my video:

Since I work in the news business, I get a lot of press releases, including for the New Haven Museum.

Here is what they share about the house (unedited here)

About the Pardee-Morris House

One of the oldest surviving historic structures in Connecticut, the Pardee-Morris House dates from about 1780 and is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.  Built by Amos Morris circa 1750, the house was burned by the British during their raid on New Haven in 1779, and rebuilt and expanded by the Morris family. In 1918, William Pardee, a descendant of the Morris family, willed the property to the New Haven Colony Historical Society, today the New Haven Museum.
For the latest news on summer events at the Pardee-Morris House, visit the New Haven Museum’s website: and Facebook page:  Sign up for e-blasts at, or call the New Haven Museum at 203-562-4183

Monday, July 14, 2014

Snake matters and snakes matter - really

I firmly believe that the presence of snakes in a yard is a good barometer of the health of that yard.

I do have to admit upfront that I am a big fan of snakes (my son is a true snake expert and licensed nuisance wildlife control operator in Connecticut)

There are 14 snakes that call Connecticut home; nearly all of them are not only harmless. but in fact beneficial to the residents of this great state. Keep in mind that the two venomous snakes that live here, both pit vipers, are more interested in avoiding you than you are in avoiding them. (The northern copperhead lives in some very few spots in Connecticut, as does the timber rattlesnake.)*

Again: snakes are our friends and the copperhead and rattlesnake want to avoid you.

My joy at the presence of snakes is not just about getting to spot a garter (shown in top photo) or a black racer slithering or sunning itself. It also makes me happy because we do not use pesticides, fungicides or any other -cides in our yard.

I do not recall, in fact, every using fertilizer on our lawn.  And yes, it has moss and there are weeds mixed in too. These sometimes unwanted elements of a lawn are not of concern to me- when my children were little, it meant not worrying about them rolling in the grass. It also means I am not sending any dreadful chemicals into the watershed. (through storm drains or the adjacent Regional Water Company property)

Check out my resident garter snake here:

I try to protect my property from harmful things people sometimes use - and try always to be careful about leaves it - as I do not want anything that leaves the place I live to harm Long Island Sound (storm drains often lead there)

The conclusion I have drawn about these snakes indicating good health of a property is based on the terrible effect many chemicals have on reptiles and amphibians.  Further, the presence of snakes means they are performing a good service: they eat many of the other crawly things that inhabit these parts.

So next time you spot a snake, don't scream, They can't hear you anyway. Smile instead and remember they want nothing to do with you either!

*(DEEP also reports that there are reptiles here that are not indigenous)

I like turtles too:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

'Surfing with seniors' computer class in New Naven


The Community Action Agency of New Haven will teach basic computer skills in its ‘Surfing with Seniors’ program starting July 15, according to a release

"This is an opportunity for individuals 55 years of age and older, to learn in a comfortable setting with patient instructors, basic computer skills," the release said 

"Students learn everything from turning the computer on to sending e-mails.  In the advanced class, students learn to upload and download, make folders and documents and set up a Facebook account enabling them to stay connected to family and friends"

The class meets twice a week for two hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 6 weeks, the release said.   

Students choose from a Beginners I or Beginners 2 class, the release said and "classes are geared to the individuals needs in each session.:

The orientation is an opportunity to find out more about the classes and other CAANH programs for Seniors. Classes are held from 10 a.m. to noon for Beginners 1, and from 1 to 3 p.m. for Beginners 2.  The fee is $50 with a payment plan available.   If you’re interested contact Jennifer at 203-387-7700 Ext 168.

Friday, July 11, 2014

New Haven museums have the 'write stuff' - "Win Coveted Publication Awards"

The New England Museum Association said in a release that New Haven-area museums won awards in the 2014 Publication Awards Competition.
According to the release, the winners are:
  • In the Educational Publications, Materials & Kits category, Family Guide to the Exhibition "Beyond the New Township: Wooster Square" won Second Place.
  • In the Books category, Connecticut's Indigenous Peoples: What Archaeology, History, and Oral Traditions Teach Us About Their Communities and Cultures won Second Place.
  • In the Supplementary Materials category, Edwardian Opulence won First Place.
  • In the Invitations category, Francesco Vanni: Art in Late Renaissance Siena won Second Place.
  • In the Websites category, Yale University Art Gallery Website won Third Place.
 “These awards put each of the winning museums in very good company at the top ranks of our region’s institutions,” NEMA Executive Director Dan Yaeger said, also in the release. “Graphic communication is vital to connecting a museum with its community, so their success with publications reflects their success in their overall operations as well.”
Yaeger said, also in the release, that 168 publications from 57 museums entered in 20 different categories. "Competition winners will be recognized and exhibited at the 96th Annual NEMA Conference in Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts November 19-21, 2014. "

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Weather in New Haven

Weather quite often seems magnified by the vantage point down on the shore at the New Haven Register.

Step out onto our entrance steps and it seems that whatever weather is occurring is right in front of you.

These photos and video at top are examples from last night's storm.

It really was a dark and stormy night - though it seems like the rain moved very quickly through the area. There was a lot of lightning.

Further, this close to the harbor the light tends to plays some tricks as the clouds move by.

You can see some of that on the video below.

To keep track of the weather, you can always check the Register site for a full report.

It contains Accuweather information and fair warning: another thunderstorm is predicted for later today! (and you already see a 'p.m.' t-storm predicted for Friday)

Read a blog post by Amy Parulis of Denali about home harrowing weather in Vermont.

Was the weather rough where you were last night? You can always feel free to share photos: - or to post the photos on the Register Facebook page too!

Here is a previous video that also shows those lovely very light tricks nature plays down here on New Haven's shore:

Share thoughts, ideas, complaints, and praise of our coverage by tweeting #AskTheRegister or logging on here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

When do you know if your life has gone to the birds?

Has your life gone to the birds if you bird watch all winter and buy food for the feathered friends more often than for your hubby?


How about if the only Christmas present you really want was a bird bath?


What if you stop at parks in New Haven all spring to look for the returning ospreys?

Check. (not looking good so far)

Stop to take photos of hawks sitting on wires?

Um... check plus.

And then there is checking in with a co-worker anytime you see something interesting on the wing.

Check again.

Think birds are tweeting directly at you? Well, it could happen.

OK. Enough true confessions.

Anyone else have this issue? We could form a flock........

Connecticut 10-year-old invited to the White House

In a release, the White House said that  First Lady Michelle Obama, Epicurious, the Department of Education, and the Department of Agriculture "announced the winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a nationwide recipe challenge to promote healthy lunches as part of the First Lady’s "'let's Move!' initiative."
Winners - including  Cecilia Vinas, 10,  "representing all U.S. states, three territories, and the District of Columbia will attend a Kids' “State Dinner” at the White House hosted by Mrs. Obama on July 18," the release said.  "The 54 children will join the First Lady for a healthy lunch, featuring a selection of the winning recipes, followed by a visit to the White House Kitchen Garden."
Also according to the release, "the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' "State Dinner" invited a parent or guardian to work with their child ages 8-12 to create a lunchtime recipe that is healthy, affordable, original, and delicious.  In support of Let’s Move!, launched by the First Lady to help address the problem of childhood obesity, each recipe adhered to the guidance that supports USDA’s MyPlate (at to ensure that the criteria of a healthy meal were met.  Entries had to represent each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy foods, with fruits and veggies making up roughly half the plate or recipe."
The winners and featured recipes include:

  • ALABAMA : Veggie Spaghetti with Alabama Gulf Shrimp, Jane Battle, 10
  • ALASKA: Maple Pecan Salmon Delight, Michael Halpern, 10
  • ARIZONA: Shrimp Tacos with Watermelon Jicama Salad, Cody Vasquez, 11
  • ARKANSAS: Arkansas meets Asia Catfish Sliders, Hart Irby, 10
  • CALIFORNIA: Ethiopian Kik Alitcha, Genene Savall, 10
  • COLORADO: Grilled Salmon with Farro & Warm Swiss Chard Salad, Kiana Farkash, 8
  • CONNECTICUT: Quinoa Chicken Burger with Kale and Potato Chips, Cecilia Vinas, 10
  • DELAWARE: Chi-Irish Shepherd's Pie, Roisin Liew, 9
  • DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Healthy Grains, Squash, Apples, Sausage, & Kale, Maxwell Lynch, 10
  • FLORIDA: Fish Cartucho Al Gabusho, Gabriel Medina, 10
  • GEORGIA: Grillin' Out Veggie Style, Mira Solomon, 10
  • GUAM: Mo-Rockin' Meatless Monday Special, Lily Vinch, 8
  • HAWAII: 'Aina Holoka'I, Grady Duncan, 9
  • IDAHO: K&T's Amazing Tortilla Chicken Soup, Katie Hebdon, 11
  • ILLINOIS: Lincoln's Inaugural Soup, Tess Boghossian, 11
  • INDIANA: Sophie's Healthy Coconut Chicken, Sophie McKinney Han, 10
  • IOWA: Over the Rainbow Veggie Pancakes, Anabel Bradley, 8
  • KANSAS: Tangy Veggy Springetty, Jasmy Seetala, 8
  • KENTUCKY: Around the World in One Bite, Lucy Fairhead, 8
  • LOUISIANA: Muffin Tin Egg White Frittatas, Moria Doran, 10
  • MAINE: Mexican Haystack, Sienna Mazone, 12
  • MARYLAND: Chesapeake Fish Tacos, Lemon-Basil Sorbet, Esther Matheny, 10
  • MASSACHUSETTS: Quinoa Lentil Burgers with Kale Slaw, Yonah de Graaf, 10
  • MICHIGAN: Barack-oli and Mich-room Obama-lette, Elena Hirsch, 11
  • MINNESOTA: Quinoa and Black Beans, Sophia Webster, 12
  • MISSOURI: Asian Chicken Meatball & Cauliflower Rice Tortilla, Joshua Wittman-Murphy, 10
  • MISSISSIPPI: Quinoa Sweet Potato Boat, Devlyn Davis, 10 
  • MONTANA: “What! You Don't Like Tofu?” Stir Fry, Chloe Long, 10
  • NORTH CAROLINA: Yummy and Healthy Kati Roll, Rajen Dey, 11
  • NORTH DAKOTA: Grilled Veggie Brunch, Tegan Lancaster, 11
  • NEBRASKA: Terrific Turkey Tacos, Zienna Peterson, 10
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE: Pan-seared Salmon with Vegetables & Tricolor Salad, Jessica Bakas, 12
  • NEW JERSEY: Sweet Potato Crusted Turkey & Veggie Pizza, Jacob Cook, 9
  • NEW MEXICO: Southwestern Casera, Max Johnson-Jimenez, 11
  • NEVADA: Chicken and Grape Salad Lettuce Wraps, Grace Keating, 11
  • NEW YORK: Mike's Chicken and Vegetable Dumpling Cups, Michael Lombardi, 11
  • OHIO: Sunrise Tuscan Chicken, Abigail Messina, 9
  • OKLAHOMA: Smoky Southwestern Vegetable Dip, Ranger Lemaster, 8
  • OREGON: Healthy Stuffed Rainbow Peppers, Grace Wetzler, 12
  • PENNSYLVANIA: Seafood Tacos with Lime Coleslaw and Peachy Salsa, Hannah Foley, 10
  • PUERTO RICO: Salmon and Salad Island Deluxe, Karla Gonzalez, 10
  • RHODE ISLAND: Mediterranean Kebab Wrap with Cilantro Tabbouleh, Kinnan Hammond-Dowie, 12
  • SOUTH CAROLINA: Carolina Chicken Chili, Julia Pascoe, 8
  • SOUTH DAKOTA: Hawaiian Kale Wraps, Sabrina Swee, 12
  • TENNESSEE: Tennessee Tabouli, Lily Sahihi, 9
  • TEXAS: Baked Falafel, Ariel Derby, 8
  • UTAH: New Polish Potatoes, Andrew Chardack, 9
  • VERMONT: Chinese Vegetable Stir Fry, Iris Hsiang, 10
  • VIRGINA: Chia Chicken Pitas, Sophie Haga, 12
  • WASHINGTON: This Fish has Gone Nuts!, Maliha Amarsi, 9
  • WEST VIRIGINA: Magnificent Mediterranean Spotlight Peppers, Adrianna Nelson, 9
  • WISCONSIN: Amazing African Sweet Potato Stew, Sarah Ganser, 12
  • WYOMING: Stuffed Pumpkin, KyAnn James, 11
  • VIRGIN ISLANDS: Ahlissa’s Rainbow Caribbean Soup, Ahlissa Pierce, 9
The winners were chosen by a panel of judges that included: Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let’s Move! and Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition; Tanya Steel, Epicurious’ Special Projects Contributor and originator of the contest; Jackie Haven M.S., R.D., Deputy Director, USDA; Deborah Friendly, General Attorney Office of the General Counsel, USED; Chef Linton Hopkins, consulting chef for Delta Air Lines, and two Washington, D.C.-based children who are graduates of Share our Strength’s Cooking Matters program.
The full list of winners and recipes can be found online at  Additionally, a free downloadable and printable e-cookbook of the winning recipes, including nutritional analyses and photos, will be available in July at the contest site,,,, and  Travel to Washington D.C. for the winners and their families of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' "State Dinner" is provided by Delta Air Lines.
“I am looking forward to hosting the winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge here at the White House for the third annual Kids’ ‘State Dinner,’” said First Lady Michelle Obama.  “This event gives us the opportunity to showcase healthy creations from talented kid chefs from across our country, and I can’t wait to see—and taste—this year’s selections.”
“Epicurious is proud to work with Mrs. Obama on this program, raising awareness about the importance of healthy eating, and showing kids that cooking is creative and meaningful for their futures,” says Carolyn Kremins, SVP and General Manager of Epicurious.  “It’s clear that kids palates and cooking skills are getting increasingly sophisticated, even at the young age of 8.”
“The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is a wonderful opportunity to help kids build healthy habits.  First Lady Michelle Obama, through the Let’s Move! Initiative, offers another shining example of how we can mobilize public and private sector resources to improve the lives of our children,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  “The decisions parents make to keep their kids healthy often start with the meals made at home.  Young people who participate in this challenge and are inspired by MyPlate encourage other children to eat healthier and build food preparation skills that will influence their food decisions into adulthood.”

The children’s arrivals on July 18 through the East Wing/ Booksellers will be pooled press and the First Lady’s remarks at the lunch will be open press.  
Members of the media interested in covering this event must RSVP to with their full name, date of birth, social security number, gender, city and state of residence, and citizenship by Friday, July 11, at noon EST.

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